An introduction to energy
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An Introduction to Energy. Why do we care?. 1. Fossil fuels are finite. a fuel (as coal, oil, or natural gas) formed in the earth from plant or animal remains. 2. Demand constantly increases. 3. Security -can we provide our own energy?.

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An Introduction to Energy

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An Introduction to Energy

Why do we care?

1. Fossil fuels are finite

a fuel (as coal, oil, or natural gas) formed in the earth from plant or animal remains

2. Demand constantly increases

3. Security-can we provide our own energy?

UPDATE: EIA Sees U.S. Crude-Oil Output Topping Net Imports in October

Mapping U.S. Oil Imports

4. Pollution and Global Warming

5. Connection between energy costs and economic growth

Where do we get our energy?


Washington State Energy Profile


Annual Per Capita Energy Consumption, Selected Countries








* China excludes Hong Kong


Per Capita Consumption of Commercial Energy (tons of oil equivalent)


The US as Energy User

How we USE energy


Transportation (fossil fuels) 28%

Rise of the Private Car


  • 531 million private vehicles around the world

  • Numbers rising: 11 million more each year

Size and Weight

  • More than 50% of vehicles bought in the U.S. are SUVs or other light trucks

Distances Traveled

- Around the world, we are taking more trips and traveling greater distances

Energy That Moves Us


The world’s fastest growing form of energy use, largely due to the rise of the private car

US New CAFE standards

CAFE stands for corporate average fuel economy

Average mpg of a company's fleet

Cars in China

Oil consumption increases 7.5% a year (7x US)

90x more cars today than in 1990

More cars than US by 2030

India’s Nano

(people’s car)

$2500 new


Household (electricity) 22%

Energy Where We Live and Work

  • Building Trends:

  • Energy use in buildings is rising rapidly

  • International Energy Agency predicts that world electricity demand will double between 2000 and 2030, with most rapid growth in people’s homes

Household Trends

House size

  • Average new U.S. home grew by 38% from 1975-2000

  • Larger homes require more energy to build, heat, cool, and light

Household Size

  • Number of people living in each home is declining

  • Thus, more homes are required for a given population


  • Increasing in numbers, types, and sizes

  • - Fastest growing energy consumers after cars


Commercial 19%

HOW WE USE ENERGY: industry 31%

  • These 6 industries use most

  • Petroleum refining

  • Steel manuf.

  • Aluminum manuf.

  • Paper manuf.

  • Chemical manuf.

  • Cement manuf.

Energy in Everything We Buy

  • Manufacturing:

  • Largest share of global energy use goes to manufacturing our vehicles, buildings, appliances, and even our food and clothes

  • Embodied energy: energy invested in a particular thing during its lifetime, from cradle to grave

  • Much of the energy embodied in an item is that required to produce it

Embodied Energy


  • Can live in a typical U.S. home for 10 years before energy used in it exceeds energy that went into components and construction


  • Worldwide, 21% of fossil fuel use goes to grow, process, package, transport, and cook our food


  • Energy needed to manufacture cars, to build and maintain infrastructure

  • Petroleum refining devours about 8% of U.S. energy


Agriculture (fossil fuels)

How we USE energy

What type of energy is used in each sector?

How would the type of energy used impact the possible solutions?



  • Electricity is a secondary source

  • We must convert a primary source into electricity (coal, oil, natural gas, solar)

How to convert to Electricity

an electrical current is generated in a conductor moving in a magnetic field.

The effect is greatly magnified if the conductor is replaced with a coil or coils of copper wire. If these coils are mounted on a rotating shaft or armature, continuous rotation will produce a continuous alternating electrical current. This is how nearly all electricity is generated today.

Kilowatt Hour

A unit of energy commonly used on fuel bills.

One kWh would power a device that consumes a kilowatt of power for an hour, or a 100 watt lightbulb for 10 hours, etc.


Power distribution network

Connects power generation plant to the plug in your house

Off the Grid


Generate your own power

No connection to grid


Generate some power

When not using, power returns to grid

Power company pays you for this power

Baseload Power

Power available at all times

Baseload power plants run constantly and generate the minimum constant demand

Some alternatives not appropriate for baseload

Renewable Energy

Unlike fossil fuels, which are exhaustible, renewable energy sources regenerate and can be sustained indefinitely. The five renewable sources used most often are biomass, water (hydropower), geothermal, wind, and solar.


Decrease use

Increase/change source

Options and Solutions

Conservation (lose less)

Options and Solutions

Efficiency (use less)

Options and Solutions

Switch to new sources

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